All the best things in life are Belgian. Beer and waffles, Raf and Margiela. To that list we add Willy Vanderperre, one of the best fashion photographers responsible for many a fashion campaign including Prada, Calvin Klein, his fellow Belgian Raf Simons to name but a few. He’s a man that our whole industry looks at when it comes to giving their collections an extended vision of what happened on the catwalk. And so he takes these opportunities to tell these colourful, visually captivating stories. No image compares to a Vanderperre – always different but with that highly refined signature that makes you want to cut out that ad and put it on your wall or slap it on your tee. And guess what – now you don’t have to do that anymore.
In collaboration with Antwerp concept store and fashion label Vier, our good friend Willy created a capsule collection of merch. Tees, hoodies, towels, pins, tote bags, stickers and socks all carry the photographer’s name along with a clear statement of their country of origin. It’s a best-of-Belgium kinda situation, as the main colours include the nation’s flag in red, yellow and black. The brand’s name is Dutch for number four which also happens to be Willy’s favourite number – even his company is called 4oktober after a date when he met his main collaborator Olivier Rizzo. The launch is also coming in fours – as of tomorrow, the pieces will be available from Dover Street Market (LA, NYC, Tokyo & London), The Broken Arm in Paris, Slam Jam in Milan and Vier in Antwerp for a limited time only, namely until December 31st.
And so to celebrate this fabulous collection made for all us fans of Mister Vanderperre, we got ourselves in a pen-pal situation with the man himself, asking everything you need to know about the project and then a bit more.
10: With such a long career as a photographer and a background in fashion design, what made you want to finally go into design?
Willy Vanderperre: To me, it is not really design. It is a project that we have been working in for a while. I liked the brand and their logo a lot, especially their classic Antwerp T-shirt. After sone initial ideas, I decided to treat them like the tour T-shirts I produced for the NY Red Hook Lab show and the London 180 The Strand show – “take a classic T-shirt and print name, title and address over it.” That is it. At the end I added the image on the back of the items. And we did introduce the ANTWERP logo in yellow for this, but the T-shirt is an existing piece, it just got a treatment.
10: There’s a strong Belgian identity interwoven throughout the pieces. How come you decided to push the patriotic iconography here?
WV: It is about Antwerp which is at the brand’s core. So, it is weirdly enough the 4 images used on the back of the items that sum up my life.
10: What does it mean to be Belgian to you?
WV: The same it means as for anyone when asked about their nationality. There is always a sense of both pride and shame.
10: Four plays such a big role in your life. What’s your least favourite number and why?
WV: I like all numbers.
10: Which piece from your collection for Vier stands out as your favourite?
WV: Possibly the white long sleeved T-shirt.
10: If we visit Antwerp, what place do we need to visit?
WV: Depends what you want… How you feel… Nature – Culture – Shopping.
10: Even though photography appears in the pieces, it doesn’t play the main role. Why did you decide to put the photography in the periphery of the project?
WV: The images are on the back as I didn’t want to alter the T-shirt.
10: Photography, music videos, march… What else do you wanna do in your life?
WV: Many things.
by Dino Bonacic
The Willy Vanderperre x Vier collection is going on sale tomorrow, November 31st at selected stores and online.